Review: The Private Suite LAX

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Earlier this year The Private Suite opened at LAX, which is the new uber-exclusive facility for those who want to skip the terminal altogether (and are willing to pay for the privilege). It goes without saying that I’ve been fascinated by this concept, and a few weeks ago The Private Suite reached out to me to ask if I wanted to experience their service. That’s an opportunity I couldn’t turn down, so they provided this service for me prior to my Asiana flight to Seoul Incheon.

In the interest of full disclosure, I was a guest of The Private Suite and didn’t pay for this experience, but all opinions expressed are my own.

How much does it cost to use The Private Suite?

The cost to use The Private Suite depends on whether you’re traveling domestically or internationally, and whether you’re a member or not. If you’re a member (which costs $7,500 per year), you pay $2,700-3,000 per visit. Meanwhile non-members pay $3,500-4,000 per visit, assuming they want a private space.

Do note that members have access to all kinds of other benefits that are outlined below, including the ability to book meals, book a pre-flight massage, get an in-suite manicure or haircut, arrange a doctor’s visit, valet their car for free, etc. Basically whatever you could possibly want done they’ll arrange for you, it seems.

My assumption was that they’re mostly targeting celebrities (though apparently that’s not true — more on that below), though I think the language choices on The Private Suite’s website otherwise paint a picture of who they’re targeting with this service.

The Private Suite pre-arrival experience

Before arriving at the airport I had to fill out a form, and was asked to provide a copy of my passport, airline confirmation number, etc. The Private Suite checks you in for your flight, and asks that you arrive two hours before departure for international flights. The process was really easy, and they responded to all emails within minutes.

I was also emailed a menu and asked if there was anything from it that I wanted to order, which I could either have in the lounge, or take with me to go. I imagine most people using the lounge aren’t doing so for the meal, but rather for the privacy. Presumably they could arrange to get you whatever you’d like, with the below just being a basic list. Members even have the benefit of getting whatever you’d like catered.

The menu read as follows:

The Private Suite photography & privacy policy

I’ve never in my life been anywhere with security and privacy as strict as The Private Suite. The man behind this concept is Gavin de Becker, who has a background in security.

The Private Suite has a strict no photography policy, with the exception of in your suite and in the car. So I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of the entrance to the facility, of the public areas, of the security area, etc. This is not only to protect the privacy of their guests, but also apparently due to their overall arrangement with LAX, given that this is essentially a sterile area.

So you’ll see that some of my pictures below are renderings or professional pictures provided by them. When that’s the case I’ll mark them as such.

The Private Suite review

Now let’s get into the actual review. My flight from Los Angeles to Incheon was departing at 12:10PM, though I got to the airport plenty early, at around 8AM. The Private Suite facility is located on the south side of the airport, so it’s just south of runway 25L, near the cargo ramp. The facility is located off Imperial Highway, and is near the cargo offices.

I took an Uber to the airport, so suffice to say it was an awkward conversation being dropped off there.

“What terminal are you leaving from?”
“I’m not going from a terminal today, it’s just the address in there I’m departing from.”
“What is it?”

The exterior of The Private Suite compound is unassuming, and we pulled up to a double set of gates, where a rather serious-looking guard took my ID and then opened the gate. I think it’s worth noting that nowadays LAX has a huge amount of congestion, and often it can take 20 minutes from the time you get off the interstate for LAX until you’re actually at the terminal. The Private Suite lets you skip that congestion.

The Private Suite LAX entrance (photo credit: The Private Suite)

Just inside the gate was the dirveway where people can be dropped off. There I was greeted by a guy who escorted me right to my suite.

The Private Suite LAX exterior (photo credit: The Private Suite)

There’s an exterior hallway right by the entrance, and that’s where the dozen or so suites are located. So you relax in your suite before going through security. In total it was 17 steps from when I got out of the car to when I was in suite #10.

The Private Suite LAX exterior (photo credit: The Private Suite)

As we walked there, the guy said to me “if you need anything, just pick up your phone and give us a call. We’ll get you when it’s time to board.” In many ways service here is exactly the opposite of what you’d find in a first class lounge, and that takes some getting used to. I imagine many of the people who use this facility want utmost privacy, and they don’t want to interact with people or be fawned over.

The whole experience here felt both isolated and peaceful, and I think that’s exactly what they’re going for. Those are two feelings you don’t often associate with commercial air travel.

Anyway, my private suite felt a bit like a living room. There was a long entryway with a bathroom to the right and a bench to the left.

The Private Suite LAX entrance

The suite had four comfortable chairs surrounding a table.

The Private Suite LAX

The Private Suite LAX

The Private Suite LAX

I was impressed by the attention to detail. On the table was a book with maps of countries, and the book was open to the page with a map of South Korea, which was my destination for the day.

The Private Suite LAX map

Also on the table was a card sharing my approximate departure time leaving the suite, as well as the weather in Seoul. And nine chocolates… just what I need within arm’s reach.

The Private Suite LAX departure card

By the window was a daybed of sorts, and underneath it were some pillows and blankets, should you want to relax.

The Private Suite LAX daybed

The Private Suite LAX bedding

The lounge had views of The Private Suite’s fleet of BMW 7-Series, as well as the taxiway near the cargo ramp. Hello Nippon Cargo 747-8!

The Private Suite LAX view

The Private Suite LAX BMW 7-Series cars

The craziest part of the suite was that it almost felt like a CVS. They had E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G in the suite. And yes, guests are encouraged to take this stuff. There’s even a duffel there which you can use to pack more stuff to go, should you so choose. 😉

The Private Suite LAX TV

Next to the TV were all kinds of travel essentials, ranging from eyeshades to headphones to power converters to earplugs to duffel bags. The selection was endless.

The Private Suite LAX gadgets

Underneath the TV were a variety of packaged snacks, including cookies, chips, gum, nuts, etc.

The Private Suite LAX snacks

Then closer to the entrance of the lounge was a further selection of drinks and snacks.

The Private Suite LAX bar

Waiting in the suite were three hot canisters already filled with fresh coffee and hot water. On top of that, espressos, lattes, and cappuccinos are available on request.

The Private Suite LAX coffee & tea

There were four types of red wine.

The Private Suite LAX wine

There was a selection of self serve liquor minis.

The Private Suite LAX snacks

Then there were two mini-fridges stocked to the brim with drinks and fresh snacks, including champagne (Laurent-Perrier), white wine, beer, all kinds of milk, water, juice, etc. Seriously, I can’t get over how well stocked the suites here come.

The Private Suite LAX mini-fridge

The Private Suite LAX drinks

Then there were a few breakfast options, including instant oatmeal, cereal, etc.

The Private Suite LAX snacks

The Private Suite LAX snacks

There was also a large selection of Nohmad chocolate.

The Private Suite LAX snacks

Then there was a Carry-On Cocktail Kit, which I tested out on a subsequent flight.

The Private Suite LAX Carry-On Cocktail Kit

There was a bowl of fresh fruit.

The Private Suite LAX fresh fruit

And there were even Snack Towers of Sadness, as Tiffany calls them. Even uber-premium lounges aren’t spared from these. 😉

The Private Suite LAX snacks

The lounge also had a private bathroom. While the individual suites don’t have showers, The Private Suite facility does have a shower spa for members, so it is an amenity they offer.

The Private Suite LAX bathroom

The Private Suite LAX bathroom

The Private Suite LAX bathroom

There was a real candle in the bathroom, and they had Kiehl’s toiletries.

The Private Suite LAX hand towels & toiletries

Much like the rest of the suite, the bathroom was basically a convenience store, with everything from chapstick to nail clippers to floss to a comb to medicine.

The Private Suite LAX toiletries

Also in the suite was a children’s toy menu, which had things for kids of all ages (and arguably even adults who act like kids).

The Private Suite LAX children’s toy menu

Here’s the full selection:

After settling into my suite I connected to the Wi-Fi, which was fast, as you’d expect. As I was told when I arrived in my suite, I could pick up the phone if I wanted anything, so I decided to call for a cappuccino. Someone picked up after just one ring, and said a cappuccino would be brought over right away. A few minutes later my phone rang (rather than a knock on the door), and I was told that my cappuccino was ready outside whenever I was. Sure enough, there was someone there with a cappuccino.

At first I found it weird that they called rather than knocked, but when I thought about it it made perfect sense. What a subtle yet deliberate touch. When someone knocks on the door you feel a sense of urgency, while if someone says “it’s outside when you’re ready,” that doesn’t create the same sense of urgency. Impressive.

The Private Suite LAX cappuccino

I spent a couple of hours getting some work done, doing a Facebook Live, and just generally walking around in circles due to my excitement surrounding where I was.

Sure enough, at 11:10AM on the dot my phone rang. “Sir, there’s a team leader outside your door waiting to take you to security and the aircraft.” So I walked outside, we turned right, and then we turned right down a hallway where there was a reception desk, and then past that was the TSA checkpoint.

The Private Suite LAX entrance to security (photo credit: The Private Suite)

This is probably the most surreal part. We’re all used to hating the TSA experience, how rude TSA officers often are, the yelling, the general unpleasant energy surrounding the experience, etc. At The Private Suite there’s a TSA checkpoint that’s staffed with four officers. THERE WERE FOUR TSA OFFICERS JUST FOR ME (one to check my ID, one for the metal detector, one for the x-ray, and one in case my bag needed a secondary search). I couldn’t help myself, and when I saw this I had to laugh out loud. I’ve had a lot of crazy premium experiences, but having four (mostly) smiling TSA officers to myself was a new experience. It was so surreal that I almost waned to go through security again.

The Private Suite LAX security checkpoint (photo credit: The Private Suite)

For what it’s worth, The Private Suite also has a dedicated immigration facility, though since I was departing and not arriving, I didn’t need to use it.

The Private Suite LAX immigration facility (photo credit: The Private Suite)

Just outside the checkpoint was a 7-Series BMW that would take me to the plane.

The Private Suite LAX car transfer

The Private Suite LAX car transfer

The Private Suite LAX passport & boarding passes

The Private Suite is located on the south side of the airport, so you have to drive all the way around runways 25L & 25R to get to the terminals. That’s quite a long ride, though as you can imagine, I was thrilled by that, since being driven around a global hub in a luxury car is basically a wet dream for me.

Being driven to Tom Bradley International Terminal

Apparently even those traveling from The Private Suite don’t get priority over airplanes. Hmmm… 😉

Being driven to Tom Bradley International Terminal

American 787 LAX

All too soon, Tom Bradley International Terminal was in sight.

Being driven to Tom Bradley International Terminal

Arriving at Tom Bradley International Terminal

Arriving at Tom Bradley International Terminal

In the car was a driver and a “team leader,” so my expectation was that the team leader would be taking me to the plane. Nope. We parked between the Asiana A380 and an ANA 777, and then the team leader handed me over to someone else, who would be taking me to the plane.

The Private Suite transfer

Asiana A380 LAX

The Private Suite has a different agreement with every airline; with some airlines they’ll let you take the stairs up to the jet bridge and board directly that way, with others you can take the elevator, and with others you need to take a nearby elevator.

In this case I was taken up a side entrance, and the guy escorting me apologized because one of the elevators was broken, so he said we’d have to enter through the gate next door instead.

The Private Suite transfer

Once we got to the terminal level, I was handed over to one of Asiana’s managers, who walked me all the way onto the aircraft.

The Private Suite transfer

Asiana A380 departure gate LAX

Man, I wanted to savor the last portion of the experience, though it was at most 60 seconds from when I got out of the car to when I was on the plane, which is sort of a shame. I barely remember it.

The part of the experience that takes getting used to

Those of us who fly first & business class often are probably used to being pampered, constantly looked after, being addressed by name, etc. For example, what I love about the best first class products is how attentive the service is.

This experience is completely different than anything you’ll find in commercial aviation, and that takes some getting used to.

Being in a suite like this feels lonely. Once I got there I sort of thought to myself “boy, it’s quiet in here.” I was also expecting I’d constantly be addressed by name, and almost expected that it would be like The Etihad Residence, where you’re basically within 10 feet of a butler at all times.

But their target audience is people who value peace and privacy, so I imagine this is exactly what they want. They want privacy, and they don’t want anyone around them. I suspect they don’t constantly want to be addressed by name, or have people engaging in small talk with them.

I probably exchanged a total of 100 words with the staff members there. I was always addressed as “sir” and not by name. In the car there was no small talk. They were friendly and professional at all times, but it was almost like having a badass security detail, as they never cracked a smile.

I can honestly say I’ve never felt as fancy as being driven to my plane at LAX by two guys with earpieces (there’s just something about earpieces that adds legitimacy to things).

Bottom line

I was expecting this experience to be somewhat similar to the first class ground experiences offered by Air France in Paris or Lufthansa in Frankfurt. It wasn’t. At all. Instead it was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

My assumption was that the people who are going to pay thousands of dollars to avoid the terminal aren’t just random travelers who are looking for a special experience, but rather are going to be people who value privacy above else. I think that’s something that can’t be understated when it comes to this experience. As someone who isn’t a celebrity, in many ways I can’t relate to the concept of wanting to be completely left alone. But I imagine that’s exactly why certain people would appreciate this service.

I think it’s also worth emphasizing that this experience is highly customizable. What I got was the “base” experience, but from haircuts to massages to showers to manicures to five course meals to just about anything, it seems like The Private Suite can arrange it. Heck, I’m sure you could even arrange if you wanted someone in your suite at all times addressing you by name every 10 seconds. 😉

My biggest question is that I wonder how big the market for a service like this really is. Huge celebrities typically fly private, and if you’re flying private there’s no need for something like this. And even for rich people, several thousand dollars per visit is a significant amount. So it seems like they’re targeting super wealthy people and huge celebrities who still fly commercial, and I’m not sure how big that market is. Who knows, perhaps they’ll work out a special contract with one of the major studios that offers this service to select people. I’m sure they’ve done their research on this, and have a much better understanding of the market than I do.

I asked Gavin (the founder) about their target customer, and to my surprise he said that most of their customers aren’t even famous people or those seeking to avoid people, but rather people seeking to avoid congestion, lines, delays, hassle, car traffic getting to LAX, long walks through crowded concourses, etc. He says that the main product they offer is something you can never get at a major commercial airport — peace. So they’re focused on logistics and peace, rather than just avoiding people.

I’m incredibly grateful to have experienced this… what a ground experience it was. This was by far the most exclusive ground experience I’ve had in my life, and I’ll never forget it. This is different from any lounge I’ve ever experienced. LAX is a messy, congested airport, so being able to so skip it altogether is something that many people will find value in.

  1. I am guessing there is also a solid marketshare for people who have realistic security concerns.

    A buddy of mine also works in security and one would be suprised how many “low profile” i.e. “unknown but rich” people have a 24/7 security detail.

  2. So did you use the duffel bag and empty out every drawer ? I would take some stuff probably whahaha (for that price for the suite anyway)

  3. I don’t understand the market for this either. To me, for the rich and private the ultimate experience would be just the super short secuity line and straight to the plane 10 minutes before departure. Why hang out at a room for hours (trying to get the most out the $4K) when they’re most likely coming from their mansion or the Beverly Wilshire?

  4. Literally ZERO people reading this blog will use this. We like to “primarily use miles and points to fund our first class experiences.”

  5. I am quite impressed by how easy the Private Suite allows one to escape the terminal madness at LAX. I assume arriving flights do the same thing in reverse, but I’d be curious in that scenario to learn who picks up your luggage and how fast that meets you at the Suite. I suspect this service is quite popular with the very wealthy business/executive types who simply want to avoid the terminal riff-raff and worries of the terminal and lounges, for celebrities who don’t want to be recognized, and for the splurge types who want a VIP experience that is completely out of the ordinary. I also can imagine splurging for this for a one time special occasion trip from LAX since we live just an hour or so away. With it serving every airline at LAX, both domestic and international, it isn’t hard for me to imagine thos service doing very well.

  6. Good luck Gavin. If he truly believes this isn’t for celebs but instead for people who will pay the price of a one-way first class flight ticket only so they can “avoid congestion, lines, delays, hassle, car traffic getting to LAX” then this place won’t be around in a year from now. Sorry.

  7. Jelly Belly, M&M’s, Skittles? More like Snack Towers of Happiness

    Awesome post @lucky, one of your best in months. I don’t mean to be “that guy” but there have been a significant amount of grammatical errors in your posts recently (including this one), so please make sure to proofread them, or at least get software like Grammarly to help you so we don’t have to hassle you all the time 😉

    Have fun in Israel!

  8. Lucky, were you travelling with just a carry-on? If you were going to check a bag, would it be checked right as you arrived at the terminal or would you have time to grab everything from the suite into your luggage and check it later? 🙂

  9. I think a big selling point is the time component. You got there several hours before your flight, but really you could have arrived at 11 AM and been out the door at 11:10 AM. This is also a big motivator for flying private, especially for high-up businessmen and women.

  10. “being driven around a global hub in a luxury car is basically a wet dream for me.”

    Great writing.

    I think the market may be bigger than you think: not just rich people with (legitimate) personal security concerns, but mega-businesspeople wanting to keep a low profile (secret negotiations for financial deals), and rich people desperate to avoid the limelight for whatever reason…

    Air Canada’s CEO, no less, says there’s a relatively tiny market between business class and those people who take private jets. But the latter are a strange bunch: there’s the story of the UK-based banker with his own corporate jet, but who always flew home first class because he could sleep better on the massive commercial airliner than on his Gulfstream. His papers followed him home in the otherwise empty private jet.

    Though I still think you underestimate the sheer scale of the private wealth in the world if you seriously think that “And even for rich people, several thousand dollars per visit is a significant amount”.

  11. The day bed looks absolutely filthy.

    But the most surprising thing in the review was this:

    “suffice to say it was an awkward conversation”

    Seriously? You travel the world, but asking an Uber driver to take you to a specific address is considered awkward…?

  12. @ JJJ — What’s awkward isn’t asking to be taken to a specific address, but having your Uber drive have to drive into a pretty serious looking compound and having him be nosy about what it is. He asked a lot of questions (out of curiosity), and short of saying “I’m going to a facility where people pay thousands of dollars to avoid having to deal with the hassle of an airport” is something I’d rather avoid saying, personally.

  13. @ Carlos — Yep, I just had a carry-on. That’s a good question about when the bag would have been checked. My guess is that they transport it to the plane separately and prior to you, but I’m not 100% sure. Let me see if I can find out.

  14. @ CS — While that certainly represents a large portion of the blog’s readership, I think you’d be surprised (at least based on some of the emails I get, many of which are from people paying for full fare first class out of pocket, etc.). Some people are into airline products as a hobby, while others are into it to get a deal.

  15. Doesn’t sound like that much of a time saver…send copies of passport, arrive 2 hours before, leave lounge 1 hour prior to boarding, long drive to the plane. However, it does eliminate a lot of hassle. That surreal TSA checkpoint is almost worth the price of admission. Seems more like a security/privacy advantage. Foreign and domestic dignitaries with entourages, uber-wealthy with family, etc. Reminds me of the Windsor Suite at LHR that used to be just for the royal family, now open to anyone with enough $$$ or £££.

  16. Even for the ultra-high net worth, flying private to Asia or Europe from LAX is not inconsequential, especially if you’re traveling by yourself, so they’re flying commercial F. For those people, though, an extra $3-4K *is* inconsequential. Combined with the population of celebrities in LA, I actually could see it working. The concept works @ LHR.

  17. It’s worth noting that the price includes up to 4 people(if you’re a member).
    So, they could use it for a meeting before a flight, eat, take a shower, have a massage, play some jenga drinking game and then be driven to the plane.

  18. Many big-name celebrities fly commercial. This past summer I sat across the aisle from Usher on Lufthansa in First Class.

    He walked on the plane right at the end of boarding and stayed on as the rest of us deplaned, presumably to avoid the crowds.

  19. @Greg is right. A long haul flight on a private jet might be more than $50k. A first class ticket paired with this service is cheap by comparison.

    @Lucky, how long did the drive take? If someone valued their time more than anything, do you know if The Private Suite would let them cut things close, for example, maybe showing up only 30-45min before an international flight (you could send luggage and passports ahead in a separate car for check in).

  20. It’s ridiculous how many people think the rich just fly private everywhere. That’s rarely done on long hauls because of both range and cost considerations. But saving an hour of time and hassle dealing with the masses is certainly worth more than a few thousand for many of the super wealthy.

  21. The flag for “English” is wrong lol.
    Also, what is “roasted spring vegetable”? Vegetable what? Vegetable pie, vegetable pasta? Bad English, rather like something poorly translated from Asian languages to English to be fair.

  22. I don’t think they are selling it as a time saver, but as a privacy and security service. Even in my home airport of Nashville, there is a ‘celebrity TSA’ screening area. Security is becoming more of a concern for business, political, and celebrity travel.

    Noting the furnishings, the emphasis is clearly not on bling, or luxury, but security and privacy. Its nicely appointed, but that is really secondary here. This assures ZERO interaction with the general public until the actual boarding of the plane in a controlled place.

    Thanks for the review of this place. I am glad you enjoyed the opportunity to experience it. It is fascinating.

  23. My wife and I use services like this all over the world, but they typically run under $1,000, (in some cases just a couple hundred,) and are as nice or nicer than this. We would certainly use this at LAX, but not at this price point.

  24. @David is correct. Flying private usually means a small jet, which cant quite fly from LAX to Asia. Only Saudi princes have their own 757s

  25. @Mike H

    watch some TMZ. you always see these paparazzi basically follow celebrities at the airport asking questions and a ton of flashing lights from the cameras… It would be nice to board/deboard a plane without seeing in public like that.

  26. Although it was a breeze I’d still prefer to go through immigration/customs and TSA before I relax in any lounge or suite. You never know if you might hit a problem or delay there, and leaving it to the last minute is an issue.

    It’s also insanely expensive for what it is.

  27. Rich and famous cant and dont fly private in long haul LOL. I have friends with jets and they use it mainly domestically. Celebrities still definitely fly First Class in international flights, so this seems like a terrific service for them.

    Lucky, Im also interested in knowing what they do with checked bags.

  28. Its really tacky having all those food and toiletry items on display like that. At least put them in a basket.
    And in those two wide-angle shots of the room, the window bench looks like there is a huge stain on the upholstery.

  29. Schar,

    Nah, you can fly any distance in a private jet. You just need to refuel here and there.

    Not for the likes of you and me, but the winners and high rollers do it all the time

  30. I totally see who this is for. Private jets are great within the US, especially to odd-ball locations where there isn’t frequent service or a connection would be required. There’s a TV show on the AWE (Wealth) channel called Selling Jets about people who buy private jets, and you can get a better understanding of the needs there.

    For long-haul, commercial often works out better. Instead of being cramped in a small jet for 13+ hours, often with fuel stops, you get in a large jet with all the amenities like proper bathrooms, hot meals, and maybe even a shower. It’s not crowded up in first class either.

    So this service just adds the privacy and speed in the part leading up to actually boarding the plane.

    I can also see a lot of corporate execs using this service, for security reasons. No worry about some crazy in the airport coming up to you.

  31. @Jim Brughton Where can I learn about where this type of service is available (at a lower price) at other airports?

  32. Last year I used the arrivals service in Dublin. For a little over $100 euros, I was picked up at the plane, taken through immigration (front of line) and deposited in my private room. They collected my bags while I had a shower and breakfast (and the obligatory taste of the local whisky at 7am). They ordered me a car and I was on my way.

    Not nearly as many services as LAX, but the escort and baggage claim were the best parts. As @lucky says – completely different than the very nice experience of, say, Virgin arrivals facility at LHR.

    Worth every penny at that price!

  33. Oh my….so many misconceptions. Contrary to some readers’ beliefs, there are people who read this blog who DO use these special airport services. I use the Windsor Suite at LHR because of the totally inept and difficult wheelchair services that are available in the regular terminals. The Jet Quay service at Changi (SIN) provides fantastic comfort and service as well as very enjoyable tours through the terminals by golf cart. So many airports provide similar services and LAX has caught up finally. Having lounges with “bling” is not what we users of these services want…..having ease of travel and uncrowded/hassle-free experiences is what we’re willing to pay extra for.

  34. I was in the T4 LAX Admiral’s Club with Diana Ross a couple months ago, and a friend has met Dr. McDreamy there. Plenty of rich and famous fly commercial.

  35. I know several extremely wealthy businesspeople who routinely fly commercial first longhaul, even though they already own private jets. Flying on a Gulfstream or a Falcon is still cramped and wildly cost-ineffective for one person, compared to flying say, CX or JL F cabin across the Pacific. I think there is a very substantial market for this type of service, and expect they can do quite well with this business plan.

    I wonder how difficult the logistics would be to expand this to JFK for example, or HKG. They would have a huge customer pool, though I suspect space-restricted airports (LHR, JFK in particular) would not be racing to make room for this.

  36. Actually only just realised Windsor Suite offers similar services at LHR already, at a similar price point.

  37. It’s appalling that the U.S. Govt is staffing TSA and CBP checkpoints solely for the purpose of this facility.

    The gov’t better not just be coming out even, but nicely profiting from the provision of these staff members.

  38. @Anthony: Why? I get that you don’t want them funding this service for the 1% but if the government is breaking even and providing a service, why would you take issue? That is what the government is there for to provide services for all citizens — including those willing to pay more for better service. Have you heard of pre-check? And, by the way, it is illegal for the federal government to make a profit by providing a service to another entity or the public. So they are most definitely NOT making a profit.

  39. Your review was absolutely fine. What I’m having trouble wrapping my head around is value for “the luxury.” While they don’t mind a client taking items in the room, when you add the membership and the per visit use fee together, you could take all of the refreshment and convenience amenities… plus the towels, bedding, furniture, TV, lighting, bathroom fixtures and the two ear buds plucked out of the ears of your limo entourage, and probably still have enough money left over to warrant the privacy service. The doctor is nice touch, but is it your own or their in-house plastic surgeon/cardiologist? I thought the greatest shortcoming was the suite appearance lacking any discernible or inviting comfort. Four grim chairs facing each other, a cushioned patio bench serving as a daybed, and sad view of the parking lot just felt like a corporate park waiting room for an ambulance chaser’s office suite. Is desolation and the occasional utterance of “sir,” (and I suspect “ma’am,” when appropriate,) plus a phone call alerting you that brooding soul is lurking outside your door with a cup of Joe, worth THIS much money? Really? If so, this underscores the adage that you can’t buy happiness.

  40. Oh… I was so enthralled by the sheer sterility of “private” that I overlooked the lack of a reasonable closet. Coat hooks? For a client’s potential furs? And fine overcoats? My suburban mud room is tricked out with better outerwear storage. And not a stitch of artwork. Or a rug. (Or did the previous occupant confiscate them as their “takeaway?” …When you have too much money…

  41. As a senior citizen, I only ask one thing of a 1st class or Private Lounge; please wake me up in time to catch my overseas flight, which apparently PL does by phone. A nice touch if the phone ring is discreet.

    I’ve awakened to find the lounge empty! I know, my bad, but couldn’t someone, anyone, have nudged me?

  42. There’s a terminal like this in Ottawa for visiting dignitaries. From my recollection of it, it was a bit nicer than this concept, but likely stood empty 95% of the time. In many cities, having a private company operating such a terminal would make good economic sense. I’d be curious to know how much of that $3-4K goes to the TSA and security infrastructure.

  43. This is so fascinating! I was wondering about their target and then I read the last part. I wish I could know how many people actually book the suite.

  44. That TSA checkpoint must be a cushy job lol. They must handpick the best officers.
    The pricing is a bit rubbish. To have to pay for membership just to get some hot food is not great. For someone like me this would be a once a year experience and I’m not going o pay the membership fee.

  45. You know what I like about you Lucky? You review Life outside the Square – regardless of how unattainable it is to us mere mortals.

    What does it matter to anyone how this service operates, who it serves and whether it is viable. The fact is: it’s there right now. And we got a magnificent glimpse of how the Chosen Few can relax before they fly.

    I see it all as a bit off fluff, but it’s sure fun to read and Lucky always takes us along for the ride.
    Keep ’em coming mate!

  46. I received an offer to try this for my whole family for $750 on a int’l flight out. Because I’m a jetsmarter member (I don’t endorse JS at all).

    Will be interesting to try.

    I work with many people in the $50-100m category, and even for them, a $200k charter to Asia is hard to swallow, especially if it’s only for one person. Int’l F + charter at destination is far superior.

    I’ve known one family to bring their own plane (G4) to Asia and they had to stop in Anchorage for fuel, then Saipan for fuel and to let the pilots rest. Seems silly to me when you could fly Singapore F and have a plane waiting when you arrive. But some people like their planes.

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